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Gay Bishop to Deliver Prayer at Inaugural Concert

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man whose ordination helped touch off a worldwide struggle within the Anglican church over homosexuality and Scripture, will deliver the invocation Sunday at a concert to kick off the inaugural celebrations, officials said today.

The concert at the Lincoln Memorial, will feature performances by Beyonce, Bono and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

The Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, who leads the liberal-leaning Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), was tapped to give the sermon in the National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral, which concludes the inaugural ceremonies -- the first woman to lead that service.

The selections of Robinson and Watkins round out a group of theologically diverse ministers who will play prominent roles during the Obama inauguration. Evangelical pastor Rick Warren will deliver the invocation during the inaugural ceremony -- a choice that riled some Obama supporters because of Warren's opposition to gay marriage -- while the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a black Methodist civil rights activist, will give the benediction.

Shaun Casey, an ethics professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington who served as an Obama campaign adviser, said the diverse choice of ministers is a "precursor of what the administration is going to look like."

"It's an extension of who Obama is," he said.

Robinson endorsed Obama for president before the New Hampshire primary -- one of the first prominent religious leaders to land in Obama's camp. He served as a faith adviser to the campaign and also advised it on gay-rights issues.

But he called Obama's choice of Warren to deliver the invocation a "slap in the face." Warren supported California's Proposition 8 this fall, a measure that voters approved, outlawing gay marriage in the state.

In an e-mail to friends posted today on the Web site Episcopal Cafe, Robinson wrote, "[I]t will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community."

Posted at 7:28 PM ET on Jan 12, 2009  | Category:  Inauguration Week
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I should have said below: "The INTENT by Congress submitting the 19th Amendment for ratification specifically excluded the issue of a woman being elected President. I do think it is better for the Constitution to be amended than the Supreme Court interpret some contrary intent, regardless of political correctness.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 9:08 PM

Well, the TOPIC is about the homosexual bishop. Good playing with you : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 8:41 PM

Got it, thanks.

So you see my Constitution and raise me a gay bishop.

Hmmmm.

I fold.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 8:34 PM

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 7:34 PM

Back to the homosexual bishop, I heard that Rick Warren offered his Saddleback Church as a location for any conservative parish to meet or even start new churches:

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/1/9/rick-warren-offers-saddleback-to-breakaway-episcopal-parishes.html

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 7:33 PM

As I already said, January 20, 2009 at 12:00 noon (I will grant you, Eastern time, for the sake of argument). The INTENT is submitting the 19th Amendment for ratification specifically excluded the issue of a woman being elected President. I do think it is better for the Constitution to be amended than the Supreme Court interpret some contrary intent.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 7:24 PM

So,

If as you say, we accepted that the President need not be sworn in, at what point would you say he or she becomes President?

You are indeed a strict constructionist.
You said:

"We cannot read into the amendment something that is not there. Now, had the amendment said, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote or hold public office shall not be denied," it would have accomplished what the feminists think took place."

What about interpretation based on intent? Having amended the Constitution, why not follow the amendment to it's logical extensions in the Supreme Court?

If no latitude for interpretation by the court is allowed, do you believe an act of Congress and passage by the States is required to further amend the text?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 7:02 PM

"Might I suggest Joseph Story's "A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States"?

Being ignorant I referenced Joseph Story. For anyone who cares, here's the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Story

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 4:07 PM

Most people believe not only that the 19th Amendment permitted women the right to vote but that since women serve in Congress, the courts and other offices of government, the office of president of the United States has been de-genderized.

Not true. This important legal question exists now and has not been constitutionally addressed. The language and syntax of the 19th Amendment merely removed the barriers that prevented women from voting. It did not identify women to be qualified to become president.

The language is clear. The 19th Amendment says: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

We cannot read into the amendment something that is not there. Now, had the amendment said, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote or hold public office shall not be denied," it would have accomplished what the feminists think took place.

The Susan B. Anthony Amendment (as it was then known, because the words were actually drafted by the suffragist in 1875) passed in the House by a vote of 304 to 89. The Senate then passed it, 56 to 25. The text of both the House and Senate deliberately avoided any language that would allow or permit women the right to seek the highest office in the land! It was the considered opinion of senators on both sides of the aisle that if language de-genderized the presidency, the amendment's ratification by the necessary 36 states would be in great doubt.

Today's feminists believe the election process is an evolutionary process, legalized by common practice and that someday a woman will be president. They are convinced that since women have run for the office, the male-gendered presidential office has been neutered.

Not so. They will be challenged, and a Supreme Court ruling on the language will be necessary. At the very least a Constitutional Amendment to change the language will be required.

http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080220/OPINION/802200400/1028/OPINION02

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 3:54 PM

Technically speaking, of course, a woman cannot be elected President either -- I was going to use this argument if Hillary had won -- the Constitution is quite clear that only men can take the oath prior to the "Execution of HIS Office" (emphasis added ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 3:49 PM

Might I suggest Joseph Story's "A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States"?

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 3:39 PM

enjoying = enjoy (darn spellchecker)

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 3:17 PM

No problem. I enjoying refreshing my memory as to American history too. That "last point" about faith goes to my explanation and argument that Pierce would have used a Bible had his son not been recently killed -- I agree with you that no U.S. President is required to be a Christian -- God help us, though, if he (or she) is not ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 3:07 PM

"Perhaps you can clarify to which "last point" (my belief that non-Christians are saying "prayers" too) you were referring to?"

Yes. Under the circumstances, what difference does any religious affiliation make?

Thanks for your other details as well.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 2:53 PM

Perhaps you can clarify to which "last point" (my belief that non-Christians are saying "prayers" too) you were referring to?

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 2:37 PM

I thought we were speaking "technically"? The oath is definitely not required before "the highest justice" (Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a notary public and -- obviously -- there were no Justices yet when George Washington was first sworn in). I was actually referring to an "affirmation" rather than "swearing" but technically speaking, the President does NOT have to take the Oath of Office -- that would pose certain legal challenges -- even before the oath is given, he (or she) is legally the President -- it's a quirk under the 20th Amendment. Think of it this way: was George W. Bush legally "required" to take the oath on January 20, 2005 (he had already taken it once, four years earlier). I would argue that he was not.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 2:20 PM

I'm not sure I understand you on the last point.

A new president swears or affirms to the highest justice in the land that he will uphold the law. That shows the clear intent of the founders.

The President is not obligated to the people to uphold any faith. The only thing that is relevant to the Constitution is the law.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 2:09 PM

Franklin Pierce was going through a crisis of faith as his only son had been killed just a few weeks earlier -- I, needless to say, do not agree that certain people of faith are getting "special consideration" -- people I don't think are Christians are saying "prayers" too.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 12:52 PM

Pierce?

Wow, I did not know that.

I only mention it because I find the Pastor flap really embarrassing for the whole country.

Granting pastors a role (any pastor of any faith) is a weird sort of influence peddling.

I wish Obama had excluded ALL religious side-show and simply sworn the prescribed oath to the Chief Justice. It would have re-enforced the legal separation of Church and State and ended special consideration for certain people of faith.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 12:40 PM

Also, Pierce was the first to affirm -- not "swear" an oath -- but not the only one. Herbert Hoover, being a Quaker, also affirmed instead of swearing, though he did use a Bible. (see for instance: http://inaugural.senate.gov/history/factsandfirsts/)

There are also contentions that earlier Presidents didn’t use a Bible, from John Quincy Adams to Teddy Roosevelt. After Kennedy was assassinated, LBJ was sworn in on Air Force One with a Catholic book of prayers because they couldn’t find a bible. This is also the first time that a woman swore a President into office.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 12:39 PM

Of course not -- it is not even required to take an oath -- I believe Franklin Pierce was sworn in on a law book.

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 12:13 PM

JakeD

Yes, swearing on the Bible is tradition and not prohibited.

But is it required?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 11:31 AM

JohnQuimby:

Legally, at noon on January 20th, Biden is Acting President, oath or not. Traditionally, however, a Bible has been used to swear them in. There's no prohibition of that in the Constitution ("free exercise thereof").

Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2009 9:07 AM

Well, the KKK got part of what it wanted. No Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and other non-Prostestants need apply as clergy to this inaguaration. So where's the diversity?

Posted by: NotBubba | January 13, 2009 7:46 AM

JakeD,

What's your take on mixing Christian prayer with a secular public event in a country without a state religion?

As far as I'm concerned he could swear in on a copy of Readers Digest and wear a viking helmet. He'd still be President.

What do you think?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 13, 2009 1:58 AM

44 Cent Obama Inauguration T-Shirt

VintageCotton.com has an Obama Inauguration T-Shirt for a special price of only 44 cents in honor of the inauguration of the 44th president Barack Obama.

http://www.vintagecotton.com/shirt/obama_inauguration_t-shirt/male

Posted by: ZatMat | January 12, 2009 10:57 PM

Fine, but the REAL DEAL is the actual Inauguration Day prayer, seen by billions across the globe ...

Posted by: JakeD | January 12, 2009 7:52 PM

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